Before I begin I must apologize for the craziness of these posts. I'm typing it all on an iPad and I have not mastered its quirks nor does it understand mine. Hee, Hee. Just bare with my terrible grammar and misspellings. Just no time to go back and correct or figure out how to correct.
You ready? Ok here goes.......
We started out on a 19 hour plane ride to arrive in Beijing at 11 pm their time. We scurried off to bed or our nice plank of wood covered in a sheet to be back up for site seeing at The Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tianiamen Square. We were to meet our guide and the other members in our group in the lobby at 8. Our guide and translators name was Lilly. A very loving and gentle lady who spoke English very well but has never been to America. We started out at Tianamen Square and The Forbidden City where I have never seen so many people in my life. Masses everywhere and with 2 blondes and 2 American young girls 7 and 12 we were like celebrities. Jason started referring to himself as Brad Pitt. They would just stop us everywhere to get their picture made with the Americans. They even forced their way into our group picture which was hilarious. Needless to say.... We stood out.
After Tianamen Square and The Forbidden City we headed to lunch at a Jade factory. We got to see how they carve amazing sculptures and even purchased what they call a "family ball". A piece of Jade that is sculpted into a sphere and then somehow they sculpt another rotating sphere inside that sphere and then another. Kinda hard to explain but maybe you can get a better idea by the picture. I'm still trying to figure out how they do it. Amazing work and amazing craftsmanship. From there we feasted on our first true Chinese meal. All served buffet style on a huge round lazy susan in the middle of the table. No sweet and sour chicken or fried rice to be found. Seems the Chinese like sweet/spicy saucy meat dishes that are all unrecognizable. Thoughts of weight loss flashed in my head. Hee, hee. Jason was more adventurious than me if that tells you anything. Jason only eats meat and potatoes so I was stunned.
After lunch we headed to The Great Wall where we climbed and climbed and climbed. Not a place for anyone afraid of heights either. Truly an amazing site and experience. Each steep step unlike the next in height and shape so it does a doozy on your coordination and endurance. Just baffling that these great walls surround the city.
After the Great Wall we went to dinner in downtown Beijing for the famous Peking Duck. Again a dinner very similar to lunch in that everything served was suspect. I did encounter my first experience with a squatty potty there though. Made me miss my American porcelain throne but truly not as bad as I had thought it would be. I did have to announce to the table on my return that "I did it". Made miss sweet Britten since he is in the potty training stage where he announces his accomplishment regularly. After dinner we had about an hour drive back to the hotel and got a glimpse of the Olympic birds nest. Another Chinese amazement.
Phew, you tired yet? I know we were but there was no slowing down. We made it back to the hotel to get a few hours of sleep then had to be awake at 4 in the morning to catch our flight to Landry's province. Guizhou (Gwey-Jo). Our guide met us in the lobby with a boxed breakfast and then we headed to the airport and scurried onto our plane without a guide or translator. It was only to be a 3 hour flight so we really didn't need one but after a 4 hour delay on a slammed pack plane without an american in sight we were missing that translator more than anything. We had no clue what the delay was other than it was so foggy/smoggy out you couldn't see 10 feet in front of you. FINALLY we taxied off and arrived in Guizhou very late. So late that our new guide/translator told us we had time to drop our bags at the hotel, get a 15 minute lunch before we were to meet Landry at the Civil affairs building. Whoa! Could barely catch our breath.
Okay, I've gotta take a breather but will continue more later.